The 2014 Doctrinal Symposium was held May 27-28 at The Wesleyan Church Headquarters in Fishers, Indiana. The theme, The Nature of Wesleyan Higher Education, emerged from an earlier meeting with college & university presidents and board chairs. The purpose of the symposium was to explore how Wesleyan theology informs how we conceive of and approach higher education. Those in attendance included religion faculty representatives from all our Wesleyan institutions, plus academic administrators from the liberal arts. Executive Director of Education and Clergy Development, Russ Gunsalus, gave special recognition to the five presenters “who made a wonderful contribution to advance Wesleyan higher education” and observed, “the insights, analysis and engagement of all the participants was and will continue to be invaluable” as we continue to explore, identify, and implement key aspects of our Wesleyan heritage for carrying out the mission of our educational institutions.

The attendees heard formal presentations from five speakers from Indiana Wesleyan University, Houghton College, Spring Arbor University (Free Methodist), Point Loma Nazarene (Nazarene), and Southern Methodist University (United Methodist). Each presentation was followed by a period of open dialog and round table discussions to explore and identify Wesleyan distinctives that should be considered for Wesleyan higher education.

The next steps will involve clarifying the identified distinctives for ongoing consideration by faculty and administration for future curriculum and student development. Plans are also being made for publication of the presentations. Papers are available for download at the 2014 Symposium page on the denominational website (videos of presentations to be added soon): here.